Quantitative determinations of metals and other trace elements in biological media are important in medicine, nutrition, occupational medicine, and other related fields.

Considerable progress has been made in recent years regarding techniques for these determinations:

  • Many trace metals can now be determined down to reference levels, i.e., concentrations that are not elevated by occupational or environmental exposure.
  • Simultaneous multi-element analysis is possible, which means that much analytical information can be obtained from small sample amounts, in short time, and at relatively low cost.
  • Isotopic composition is measured with high precision; e.g., natural isotopic variations for iron in blood can be seen.

Methods for analysis of whole blood, serum/plasma, urine, and other media by ICP-SFMS have been developed in the ALS Scandinavia contract laboratory (see reference list).

Here, we attempt to summarize the analytical results for human biological materials and to highlight the possibilities opened by modern analytical techniques.

Please note: Concentration values and ranges presented here are those found in the studies cited. They are not proposed as reference values or "normal ranges" for the materials analyzed.